Niagara Falls is one of the wonders of the world, and has many activities for kids. But is Niagara Falls toddler-friendly? If you’re wondering the answer to this question, then you’ve come to the right place.
I’m an Ontarian mom, and have been to Niagara Falls (Canadian side) countless times with children between 1 and 3 years old. So I can offer you some good first-hand advice on how to navigate Niagara Falls with a toddler and the best things to do there.
Here’s your guide on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls with a toddler: whether you’re visiting in summer or winter, stroller limitations, how to make the attractions toddler-friendly so that you enjoy your time as much as they do.
So, let’s jump in – Niagara Falls with a toddler!
Is Niagara Falls Stroller-Friendly?
The first question that pops into most of our minds is whether we can or should bring a stroller. Niagara Falls is stroller friendly, and its also highly recommended that you bring a stroller or a some sort of a carrier if they’re under 4 or 5 years old (depending on the child.) There is quite a bit of walking between attractions. For instance, from the edge of the falls, its a 15 minute walk to Clifton Hill (picture of the trail below.)
Niagara Falls is mostly flat, but the only hill you will need to climb if you choose to is Clifton Hill. Unsure what there is do with a toddler in Niagara Falls, or how to make the attractions toddler-friendly? Let’s dig in to that below.
Things to Do in Niagara Falls with Toddlers
Niagara Falls is like a mini-Vegas for kids. But there are as many things for a toddler to do? Here’s your guide on the best things to do with your toddlers in Niagara Falls that also include the rest of the family.
1. Get an epic view of the falls from the Skylon Tower
The Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls is a revolving tower with an observation deck, tourist information, souvenir store and a restaurant. The restaurant is of course, a bit pricey being in Niagara Falls, but there is a kid’s menu there. However, you don’t need to eat at the restaurant in order to go the tower for the view.
It’s pretty affordable and easy to simply buy tickets to head up Skylon Tower on your own for a great view and some pictures. Once you go up the elevator, you can probably see everything in 15-20 minutes, before heading back town the tower.
Get your Skylon Tower Advance Tickets Here
2. Stand right at the Edge of the Falls
There’s nothing quite like standing right over the edge of Niagara Falls, watching the force of the stream of water plunge over the cliff. Even your toddler will be mesmerized by the rapids. You’ll most likely want to stop at different spots to get various pictures from different angles.
Be prepared to get slightly wet, (which may be welcomed on a hot day) because of the mist rising up from the bottom. Some people carry umbrellas for this reason. Photos can catch some of the mist too. It can get very crowded, so prepare to sometimes wait for a spot to get your perfect family picture.
Good to Know: The edge of the falls is guarded by rails with signs that say not to climb them. As long as you’re watching your toddler, it should be safe – but keep a close eye, because as you can see in the photo below, the rails are easy to climb.
3. Journey Behind the Falls
Journey Behind the Falls probably the most ‘up close and personal’ to the falls you can get, and you can do this activitiy in about 30-45 minutes. It involves descending 125 ft by elevator.
Instead of being at the top of the falls, you’re down at the base of where they meet the water’s surface. You will get wet, and you’re provided with a biodegradable rain poncho beforehand.
There are little windows where you can see the falling gallons of water of the falls. The windows are quite small, but its still pretty fascinating to see the force of the water from behind. At the end of this experience, you can either return your poncho to be recycled or bring it home as a souvenir. This entire experience is stroller and toddler friendly, but do prepare to get wet.
11. Soar High on the Niagara Skywheel
The Niagara Skywheel was inspired by the London Eye in England, and is another place (besides the Skylon Tower) to get gorgeous panoramic views of the land.
You can see gorgeous aerial view of the falls from the top, which is 175 ft off the ground. Each of the gondolas seat up to 8 people, and they have heating and air conditioning depending on the time of year.
Each ride is 12-15 minutes long. There’s a fenced off area at the bottom of the wheel where you can leave your stroller. If you have a very young infant, then you can bring them in the carseat onto the skywheel.
Get your Niagara Skywheel Admission Ticket here
4. Ride the Hornblower
The Hornblower was known to Canadians as “Maid of the Mist” for the longest time. The Maid of the Mist is now an American attraction and the Canadian side now features the Hornblower Niagara Cruises, which is pretty much the same in terms of the visitor experience.
The Hornblower is a 20-minute boat ride to the bottom of the falls. Although the boat rides itself is only 20 minutes, it’s recommended to budget about an hour for this visit, to account for line up times, washrooms, gift shop, etc.
You can buy tickets online for the Hornblower, and reserve a time slot. A few rides will sail in your selected time frame, so you will be able to get on one that suits your schedule.
The line up can be quite long when you arrive there, but because of how frequently the boats leave, its never as bad as it looks.
You can leave your stroller at the designated ‘unsupervised’ area prior to boarding. You can also bring your stroller on board if you want to, but you’re not allowed to bring it to the top observation deck of the boat. You’re also not permitted to leave it unattended on the boat. So unless your child will be sitting in the stroller on deck, then your best bet is to leave it at the boarding area if you feel comfortable or store it in the car.
Good to Know: On the Hornblower, you’re provided with 100% recyclable plastic ponchos, which you can keep as a souvenir.
It’s not about whether you’ll get wet or not, it’s how wet. You could get absolutely soaked on this adventure, which is why they hand out ponchos. It is quite amazing to be down at the falls. The force and the mist is something indescribable. Living only 2 hours from Niagara Falls my whole life, I didn’t have this experience until I was 30, and it was such a different way to experience the falls than I’d ever imagined.
This family-friendly tour provides you with skip-the-line access to the Hornblower, Journey behind the Falls, and Skylon tower.
5. Discover Hydroelectricity
The Niagara Parks Power Station is a new attraction that just opened in 2022, and its a bit similar to the Journey Behind the Falls mentioned above. We have visited the Power Station this with toddlers ages 1-3, and would recommend it for this age group, and older. From the edge of the falls, the Niagara Parks Power Station is only a 5-minute walk away. Budget an hour to an hour and a half for this visit; although if you’re doing a self-guided tour, you have much control over how much time you spend.
When you first come in at ground level, there is a museum with visuals to teach you all about how they’ve used the falls to create hydroelectricity. Learn some interesting facts about the power station, but we enjoyed explaining some of the science to our older child. Of course, younger kids aren’t going to get a ton out of this part, but it was fun explaining it to our 10 year old. There is a gift shop that you can look through as well.
Pro Tip # 1: If you need to use the bathrooms, especially for younger kids who can’t hold it for long – do it before going down the elevator. There are no washrooms once you go down 180 ft.
After the ‘museum’ part of the visit, you descend in the 180 ft elevator. When you get to the bottom, you have an opportunity for some unique family photos at the base of the tunnel.
The walk through the tunnel is 2,200 feet long; easily walkable for young kids, and stroller friendly. You can get some stunning family photos at the edge in front of the falls.
Pro Tip # 2: Bring warm clothes for the tunnel, even if its hot outside. The average temperate in the tunnel is 15 degrees (60 F), regardless of how warm it is outside.
6. Eat at the Rainforest Café
The Rainforest Cafe is an amazing environment for kids. Its made to feel like you’re eating in the middle of the jungle. There’s a trees, a large fish aquarium and moving animals and sounds of the jungle.
The food is a bit pricey, and in the summer, the lineup can extend out to the sidewalk – they don’t take reservations, so its best to either eat here during off-season (the picture below is in October) or avoid peak-meal times in the summer.
The inside was highly entertaining and engaging for kids of ANY age – we ate there with four different aged kids – 1, 3, 8 and 10 – and all four of them couldn’t stop looking around. The older ones were often up out of their table to go look at the aquarium and other animals. The younger ones we carried around the restaurant to look around.
Periodically, its a storm in the rainforest, and you can hear light thunder and falling rain. When you look up at the ceiling, you see twinkling stars in the sky. I would 100% eat here again with small kids, if budget allows!
Cost to eat at the Rainforest Cafe
Our bill for a family of 4 came to about $160 CDN – this included two adult entrées, two kids meals, two appetizers, and two alcoholic drinks, and taxes. (Tip not included.) We felt it was worth the exciting experience for our kids eating there, but if you wanted to make it cheaper, you could omit the alcohol, desserts and apps.
7. Visit the Butterfly Conservatory
Niagara’s Butterfly Conservatory is one of the largest butterfly enclosures in North America, and there are over 2,000 species of butterflies flying around. There’s a stroller-friendly path that you walk through, surrounded by plants and lots of butterflies. Quite a few of the butterflies land on you, which makes for some nice photos.
There’s also a scavenger hunt that’s probably most suited to kids aged 4+. Overall, budget for an hour or two to walk through the butterfly conservatory.
The Butterfly Conservatory is not accessible by foot from downtown Niagara – you would need to drive, or take an Uber. Its about a 15 minute drive from downtown.
8. Watch Birds Fly around freely
Take your toddler to see free, wild birds and reptiles at Bird Kingdom. My 2 year old has a fascination with birds, so I knew she’d love this activity. Part of what I loved about Bird Kingdom is its quieter, less busy that most attractions. There are so many varieties of birds, like macaws and African greys, but there are also small birds, reptiles and bats. In the large main aviary, theres a large open habitat room with trees, waterfalls and lots of free-flying birds.
Unlike the Butterfly Conservatory, Bird Kingdom is very close to the falls area and you don’t necessarily need a car, depending on where you’re parked or staying. You could walk there in 10 minutes from the base of Clifton Hill, or in 20-30 minutes from the edge of the falls. Parking at Bird Kingdom is only $3, which is super affordable for Niagara Falls!
Good to Know: Bird Kingdom is stroller-friendly. Since its a 3-floor attraction, you will use the elevators instead of taking the main route, but its not far out of the way at all.
9. Let out Energy at an Indoor Waterpark
There are a few indoor water parks in Niagara Falls. One of them is at Great Wolf Lodge, which has two waterparks but are only accessible to people who are staying there.
But there are other waterparks in Niagara Falls that you can visit without having to be an overnight guest. They are:
- Waves, Americana’s Indoor Waterpark , open to outside visitors daily from 10 am-8 pm.
- Fallsview Indoor Water Park, hours to outside visitors change daily based on the day
10. Walk along Clifton Hill
Clifton Hill is what many people are talking about when they say that Niagara Falls is like a Kid’s Vegas. It’s the main strip in Niagara Falls that has restaurants, hotels, candy stores, haunted houses, kid’s museums such as Ripley’s Believe it Or Not, or a Wax Museum.
This is also where you’ll find the Rainforest Cafe mentioned earlier, and the entrance to the Skywheel, and Niagara Falls Speedway. Needless to say, there’s a lot of for a toddler to look at on Clifton Hill. They may still be too young for some of the activities (I wouldn’t recommend the haunted houses for this age group for example) but even just a walk around and taking in the environment can be very interesting for them.
Where to Stay in Niagara Falls with a Toddler
There are a number of toddler-friendly Niagara Falls accommodations, that fit a variety of budgets.
- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson have access to an indoor pool, 24 hour front desk service and a complimentary breakfast to start your day each morning
- Cheerful Residence Save on this family hotel that gives you a cozy atmosphere to relax in, with a balcony and several rooms to move around in
- Hilton Family Fallsview is where many Ontario families go when they want to spoil themselves and have the most spectacular view of the falls. Stay in their deluxe 2-bedroom suite in order to have more room
- Embassy Suites provides the best view of the Niagara Falls. With luxurious rooms and even an indoor swimming pool, you can return to being pampered after a busy day on foot
- Great Wolf Lodge is the ultimate place to stay in Niagara Falls with kids; many Ontario families travel here specifically just to stay at Great Wolfe Lodge. With indoor waterparks, games and activities for kids and restaurants on site in a rustic, ‘cottage’ themed atmosphere
Best Time of Year to Visit Niagara Falls with a Toddler
The good news is that Niagara Falls is a good place to visit year-round. But there are certain perks about different seasons, and some things to keep in mind. Here are the things you should be aware of.
Niagara Falls in Summer
Summer is the most touristy season in Niagara Falls, so expect to navigate crowds. There may be lineups for activities you want to participate in. The heat in southern Ontario can be intense in the summer. Wear a good sunscreen, and make sure you have a child-safe sunsceen to your little one as well. Consider going on the Hornblower to cool off.
Niagara Falls in Autumn
One perks about visiting Niagara falls in the fall is that the tourist crowds have thinned out quite a bit. Its cooler, and the colour of the fall leaves against the falls is beautiful.
Pro Tip: If you’re staying in Niagara Falls overnight, take a walk along the ravine at night – the falls are illuminated at night, year-round!
Niagara Falls in Spring
The winter can be very unpredictable in the months between March and May. It could be as cold as 0 °C, or up to 30°C (32°F or 86°F) . It’ll be important to prepare for all types of weather. Also, spring is less popular of a time to visit Niagara Falls than in June, so there will be fewer crowds.
Niagara Falls in Winter
Niagara Falls in winter is not nearly as popular as the warmer months, but it still draws people who want to see the falls with a snowy landscape. During winter, 75% of the water flowing from Lake Erie along the Niagara River is diverted before it reaches the falls in order to be used for hydro-electric energy. So, the falls might be a little bit thinner in the winter than other months – but they are still flowing, and still beautiful to look at.
Plus, all the indoor activities in Niagara Falls make it easy to escape the cold so that you aren’t outside all day in the winter. If you’re in the area at this time of year, consider heading to Toronto in winter that also has many special and unique things to do to enjoy the colder months.
How to get to Niagara Falls
There are a few different ways to get to Niagara Falls, depending on where you’re coming from.
If you’re staying overnight, the hotel you’re staying at will likely have free parking. If you’re only going to be here for a day, then there are plenty (hundreds) of parking spots along the ravine and just past it. There is also limited parking available by the Clifton Hill near the Skywheel. We personally have never had a problem finding a parking spot in Niagara Falls, even during high season.
Go-train from Toronto
The bus will drop you off at Niagara Falls train station. From the station, you can catch a bus, which makes multiple stops, including Clifton Hills – I recommend taking it to the end where it stops near the Table Rock Welcome Centre. From there, its a less than a 5-minute walk to the edge of the falls. You could also take a toddler-friendly tour from Toronto.
Final Thoughts: Is Niagara Falls Toddler-Friendly?
There is so much to do in Niagara for families with babies and toddlers. So whether it’s a day trip, you’re just crossing the border from New York, or staying for a few nights – you can be certain that you’ll find lots of ways to enjoy the time as a family.
Niagara Falls draws all kinds of tourists – adults wanting to go to the casino, couples on romantic getaways, and tourists from all around the world to see the falls. But another group that frequents Niagara Falls is families with children, and yes – that includes families with toddlers. The best toddler-friendly activities are the ones listed above, and you can see where I noted about stroller-friendliness of each attraction. We hope this is helpful to you.
Looking for other toddler-friendly waterfalls to see in Central Canada? Consider the 2nd highest waterfall in Ontario after Niagara Falls, Kakabeka Falls, which just outside of Thunder Bay, or Montmorency Falls outside Quebec City, which are even taller than Niagara Falls.